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MATTHEW SWEENEY

 

 

mBorn in Donegal in 1952, Matthew Sweeney is now based in Cork, having previously been based in Berlin, Timişoara and, for a long time, London.
A new poetry book, My Life as a Painter, is forthcoming from Bloodaxe in April, and a book of prose poems, King of a Rainy Country, from Arc, sometime later in the year. His most recent collection, Inquisition Lane, came out in 2015. The previous collection, Horse Music won the inaugural Piggott Poetry Prize.

He has been translated a number of times, most recently in Hund und Mond, a bilingual selection with translations by Jan Wagner, published by Hanser Berlin in September 2017.
He has collaborated twice with the English poet, John Hartley Williams – first in the handbook, Writing Poetry (1996), then in the satirical novel, Death Comes for the Poets (2013). He has also edited or co-edited several poetry anthologies.

 

 

The North Wind

 

I carried my three bags down the road from the bus
into the teeth of the North Wind. There was a minuscule
polar bear in each gust, and they were biting, biting,
then spitting bits of me out onto the road, where rats
could devour them. I was much smaller when I lugged
the three (rucksack on my right shoulder, laptop bag
on my left, canvas bag of presents in my right hand)
up what we called the loaning – a leaf-framed, uphill
lane from the road, but I was still big enough to slip
and fall on wet moss just as I was reaching the house,
after nine hours on trains, trams or buses from Cork,
and my jeans got caked in mud. The North Wind blew
into my horizontal face, and I swear, it laughed at me.
I struggled to my feet and gained entry to the house,
dumping my bags inside the door. I recovered a bottle

of Rioja from the rucksack and I uncorked it, filling a glass

to the brim, then bringing this to the re-opened door
before downing it in one slug, ignoring the North Wind.

 

 

©2018 Matthew Sweeney

 

 

Author Links

 

Matthew Sweeney at Poetry International

His collections at Bloodaxe

More of his work in Southword

 

 

 

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